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Paper #1265

Adopting a new religion: The case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany
Davide Cantoni
Març 2011
Using a rich dataset of territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, this paper investigates the determinants of adoption and diffusion of Protestantism as a state religion. A territory’s distance to Wittenberg, the city where Martin Luther taught, is a major determinant of adoption. This finding can be explained through a theory of strategic neighbourhood interactions: in an uncertain legal context, introducing the Reformation was a risky enterprise for territorial lords, and had higher prospects of success if powerful neighbouring states committed to the new faith first. The model is tested in a panel dataset featuring the dates of introduction of the Reformation.
Paraules clau:
Protestantism, State religions, Germany, Spatial adoption of policies
Codis JEL:
N34, Z12, R38
Àrea de Recerca:
Economia de l'Empresa i Organització Industrial

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